A British-led consortium is planning to raise £500m ($780m) from public donations to fund a lunar mission. For less than $100 (£64) members of the public will be invited to buy space on memory discs to be buried in a bore hole drilled into the moon’s surface. British engineer and city financier David Iron, who came up with the plan, entitled Lunar Mission One, said: “We have carried out research and been quite surprised how keen people are. School kids think the idea of having a bit of themselves on the moon is fantastic.” Rock drilled out of the lunar crust could be analysed in situ using a package of scientific instruments, or left behind for human moon explorers in years to come.
Lunar Mission One is both ambitious and innovative , demonstrating an exciting way of enabling lunar exploration.
Professor Richard Holdaway, director of RAL Space
Under the scheme there will be hundreds of discs, each one about two inches in diameter. People helping to fund the mission will be promised a small part of a disc on which to load information. Mr Iron said business plan projections had shown that the global sale of memory disc space could raise enough to pay for the mission with money to spare. “We’re looking to make billions in revenue,” he said. “It will be well in excess of the mission costs.” His team has taken advice from RAL Space, part of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Didcot, Oxfordshire, which contributed to the European Space Agency’s comet probe, Philae.
People can put any information they like in the memory disc; it will be like a personal time capsule, a private archive. It could be a small message saying ‘hi, I’m Joe’ or a whole family history.